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How To Make Fizzy Coconut & Water Kefir

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Beverages, Raw Food Diet Video, Raw Food Recipes

Water kefir (“keh-fear”) grains — also called sugar kefir, tibicos, tibi, Japanese water crystals — are similar to kefir grains, which are used in milk to make a fermented dairy drink.

Water kefir grains tend to be translucent, whereas milk kefir grains will be whiter, looking a little bit like cauliflower. Because water kefir grains tend to be used in a variety of liquids, they will sometimes appear different colours, depending on the colour of the liquid.  So in this video I use dark molasses and coconut sugar, which turns them brown.  If you use white sugar, which I don’t like to, because it’s been refined, they’ll turn white.

No two batches of water kefir drink or grains are exactly the same in their bacterial makeup. This also means that you may find some variance in taste between two batches that you make, even with the same grains.

Like kefir grains, water kefir grains are a mix of bacteria and yeasts, which feed on the sugar in many different sugary liquids to produce lactic acid, very small amounts of ethanol, and carbon dioxide, which carbonates the drink on the second stage fermentation, as I show in this video.

The main benefit of this process is that probiotics are produced in the final drink. These are beneficial to the human intestines, creating an environment that aids digestion.

 




 

Water kefir grains cannot be grown from scratch; they have to come from a donor. The good news is that you only need a very small amount to start growing them from that first batch.

Here are the instructions for growing kefir grains. The grains need a high amount of sugar to feed on.

For making water kefir and growing more grains

  • 6 cups spring water
  • 1/4 cup water kefir grains
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1/8 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate
  1. Place all ingredients in a glass jar and cover with a breathable tight mesh material, such as a nut milk bag.
  2. Allow to stand at room temperature for up to 48 hours.
  3. Strain the liquid and reserve the grains.
  4. The resulting water can be drunk as is or added to smoothies for an extra boost of probiotics.
  5. You should notice an increase in the volume of the kefir grains that came out, compared to when you started.
  6. Repeat this process until you have enough grains to keep this process going and also make coconut kefir.

Young coconut water doesn’t have enough sugar to actually make the kefir grains grow very fast, but it does have enough sugar to make the coconut water ferment into kefir.

When you team up growing the grains with the next instructions on how to make the actual kefir, you should be able to provide your daily kefir requirements on a ongoing basis.

For coconut kefir

  • 1/4 cup kefir grains
  • 6 cups young coconut water
  1. Combine the water kefir grains and the coconut water in a jar.
  2. Allow to stand for up to 48 hours at room temperature. You can check every 12 hours to make sure the fermentation isn’t going too far. You’ll know if it’s strong enough by taste testing. (The longer you leave it, the more pungent and sour it gets.) After you’ve made a few batches, you’ll get a feel for how you prefer it. The more grains you have in the water, the less time it will need to develop. Warmer room temperature will also result in quicker fermentation.
  3. Strain the coconut water kefir from the kefir grains, reserving the grains for another batch or to grow more. Set the coconut water kefir aside for a second stage fermentation.

 

Second stage fermentation

  • Coconut kefir (instructions above)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup juice of your choice
  1. Combine the coconut kefir and juice in a bottle that has a tight-sealing lid.
  2. Leave to stand at room temperature for 48 hours. This will cause a second stage fermentation, where the kefir will break down the sugars in the juice and go fizzy.
  3. If your kefir is already quite fizzy or you just like the taste of the kefir with the juice without actually fermenting for that second stage, then you can simply add the juice and put it straight in the refrigerator, which will slow the fermentation down.

 

Things to look out for

  1. Rinse the grains after each brew, avoiding tap water as it may contain contaminants that harm the grains.
  2. You can store kefir grains in the fridge in sugar water for up to a week.  You can also freeze them for up to 6 months.  If you have too many grains, you can add them directly to a smoothie.
  3. The only metal that can touch your grains is stainless steel, as this is nonreactive.
  4. During fermentation, you’ll see the grains rising and sinking, as they produce gas when growing. This is a good sign.
  5. To get a fizzy second stage fermentation, you must use a tight-fitting lid on the bottle.
  6. The water and coconut kefir will keep for several months in the fridge.
  7. If your grains aren’t reproducing, it’s because you’re not using enough sugar in the mixture. Use the recipe for growing the grains, in those amounts, to revive and get your grains going again.
  8. After freezing the grains, it will take several harvests to get the grains reproducing fully again.
  9. You can buy grains from eBay in most countries.  Just search for ‘water kefir grains’.

 

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187 Comments

  1. curious.. but.. if kefir grains can’t be made from scratch and must be donated… where do those grains originally come from? How are they created?

    It’s like this big mystery of the original Kefir grain. The Mother grain! Like we need to travel back in a Tardis to find the Source. :)

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  4. Thanks Russell. Is there any way to make water kefir on a daily basis but without getting the grains to multiply!? Keen to get water kefir to drink, but wanted to just keep the same amount of grains and not get them multiplying! I guess maybe use less sugar. I seem to have gone from having 2 tsp of grains to 2 cups! Thanks!

    • Using less sugar may slow the rate of growth. But really, a successful batch of kefir will grow more grains as a product of doing it well :)

      You can blend extra grains into smoothies for more probiotic goodness for you.

  5. Is it okay to use the water from brown coconuts? And, other kinds of sugar besides white sugar and coconut sugar work well with water kefir?

  6. Hi – thanks for this great video – very clear instructions! Out of interest, what are those bottles you’re using with the tight seal? Is there a risk of them exploding if too much pressure builds up?

  7. Hi Russell, I like your blog a lot! I am confused about these kefir grains, though. First you mention that it is not possible to grow them from scratch and that they need to come from a donor, and then you give us a recipe on how to make water kefir and grow grains. Here you don’t mention kefir grains among the ingredients. Does that mean that this recipe is for growing grains from scratch? Thanks!

    • Hi Bobica, to grow the grains you’ll need donor grains, which will multiply into more.

      I’ve added grains to the ingredient list to make it a bit clearer. If you’re in doubt, check out the video where I show you exactly how to do it :)

  8. HI Russell. I am so excited about your wonderful information. I am very interested in brewing wine and champaign from the coconut water kefir and understanding the amount of alcohol content. Do you have any specific recipes for brewing champaign and wine? Is that the “second” fermentation process? If so is there any way to know how to monitor the amount of alcohol. Then what are the best fruits to use. Thank you so very, very much!!!! I cannot wait to get started. Blessings! Lyn

    • Hi Lyn,

      When you say you want to brew champagne and wine, do you mean that you want to do a ‘mock champagne’ and ‘mock wine’? What I mean by that is kefir that tastes like champagne or wine.

  9. Hey Russel, great video so easy to follow, you have a great skill in presenting. Do you know if the sugar you are adding will harm candida suffers. I had candida for years and recently got it under control, i currently have just coconut kefir no sugar. Would love to try your 3 recipes do you think its safe to use them all

    • Hi John, 80% of the sugar is eaten during the creation of the kefir, so there is some left.

      In the same way that there is sugar in coconut kefir, from the coconut water.

      I have also heard that kefir can help with candida because it’s a different type of bacteria.

  10. For the decanting process, it’s easier to use some kind of rod against the bowl. The liquid will flow following the rod into the other container. You can use a glass straw or maybe a knife, but I think I would be easy than using the bottom of the bowl.

  11. You say that the water kefir and coconut kefir lasts for several months in the refrigerator.. Do you mean 2 months or more? If it continues to ferment in the refrigerator even without the grains, does it taste markedly different as time goes on? Will it eventually lose it’s sweetness? Does your water kefir have a little taste of alcohol? If so, is there any way to prevent that from happening? Thanks!

    • Hi Jun, yes I have kept kefir for longer than 2 months in the fridge.

      It will become more alcoholic and less sweet as time goes on and there’s no way to avoid that unfortunately, as it’s the natural process of fermentation.

      • Hi Russell, I recently got some kefir grains from a friend, and wanted to share her recipe. It’s pretty tasty as is without adding more to it, but I like to have it with equal parts fresh apple juice and juice of 1/2 lemon sometimes.. delish! Also cuts the taste of alcohol for me..
        ~6.5 cups filtered water
        1/3 cup live water kefir grains
        1/2 cup organic Rapadura sugar (whole sugar with molasses)
        2 dried organic pineapple rings – torn into 4 pieces
        2-3 dried organic figs
        5-6 pieces candied ginger

        Combine everything in glass jar with plastic lid. Leave in cupboard for 48 hrs., then check to see if “done”.

        I’m new to water kefir, and am looking forward to trying out your coconut kefir recipe and other recipes out there as I’m discovering there are many different ways to do this. I use a lid because that’s how my donor friend told me to do it, but see that others say to use a cloth over the jar.. If you use a lid, open slowly over a sink. My kefir grains multiply quite a bit.. from 1/3 cup to over 1 cup after 48 hrs. with the Rapadura sugar, while my friend who uses regular white sugar, doesn’t see as much growth. Thanks again for your recipe! Your video is very helpful!

  12. I absolutely love love love your video, it’s so clear and concise, and your just totally amazing!! I also started eating raw to clear up my skin after noticing that I have a lactose intolerance and a few other sensitivities, it has helped me tremendously!!

  13. Thanks for the video! Can I add the kefir to a green smoothie as the liquid? I usually add 1 cup of water to my smoothies, but wondered if I could substitute the kefir. Also I don’t like carbonated drinks, and was wondering if there’s a way to make kefir without it becoming fizzy or carbonated? I’m looking forward to trying this.

    • Hi Jun, yes you can certainly add the kefir to a green smoothie. To not make it fizzy, don’t seal the bottle it’s in airtight, just cover it with a cloth in the fridge. It takes days to get fizzy, so if you need to seal the bottle to travel about with it, that’s perfectly fine.

      • Hi Russell, have you ever tried coconut sugar as the sweetener? If not, do you think it will work in place of maple syrup, and how much would I use? Does the sweetener that’s used have an affect on the taste of the final kefir?

        After you use the grains in the coconut water, can you reuse it right away to make another batch of kefir or can you add it to the batch that isn’t being used in the refrigerator?

        To store the grains between use, do you store them without any water or sweetener in the refrigerator? If so, how long can you store them without feeding them?

        A friend is giving me some water grains, but she feeds the grains with both sugar and dried fruit. What do you think of using dried fruit too.. is it really necessary? Your recipe seems simpler using one sweetener.. Do the grains ever need variety in the sweeteners or can they live off the same one ad infinitum? Thanks!

        • I’m just testing it with coconut water and it seems to be all good. It will be a little different of a taste, yes. In a quart or a litre, I would just use a tablespoon.

          Yes, you can use it again straight away. Wash the kefir grains before you use them again.

          I’ve started to store them in water with a little sugar in for up to a week. They can also be frozen for up to 6 months.

          Dried fruit works, yes. It’s quite a traditional way of doing things, but it’s not essential.

          They seem to be able to live off one type of sweetener.

  14. Great video! There are quite a few questions here, so sorry if I missed this but are you able to use packaged coconut water from the store or do you need to start with raw coconut water? Any recommendations on where to get starter grains? I am brewing kombucha and fermented my own veggies. Love good gut bugs!

  15. Thanks for the great info, It’s hard to find info about making this with grains rather than the starter culture. I have some super active grains and my kefir tastes quite a bit like beer. Is that normal? I want to give it to my young children but am concerned about the alcohol content. Any idea if it would produce quite a bit of alcohol if the grains are very active and you get a lot of fermentation?
    Also what is the purpose of the 2nd stage fermentation?
    Thanks

    • As far as I’m aware, Kefir is always made with grains, and it’s kombucha that’s made with starter culture.

      I don’t know about the alcohol content if it’s fermented until it smells like beer. Ideally you just want to ferment it for a couple of days. You might find more info on Dom’s site here: http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html

      The second stage fermentation is to try and get it fizzy, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t work so well. But at the very least it’ll add some good flavour in that stage.

  16. Question…if you drink the kefir water after only 12-18 hours because you like the taste better..is there less probiotics in the drink than if I leave it longer?

  17. i have candida overgrowth and coconut water kefir has helped alot. I finally started to expel candida and what i believe to be parasites *shudders* after using it. it’s amazing.

    • There’s no rules about how much or when it should be drunk, but I like to drink it first thing in the morning; usually a small glass full. You’ll know you’ve drunk too much in a day if you need to need to go to the toilet (bathroom) urgently, if you know what I mean :)

  18. I make a probiotic drink with coconut water in a similar fashion, but I started with opening up a few probiotic capsules and mixing them in the water and leaving over night. Then, I save some of the fermented liquid and put that in new coconut water which ferments a new batch. Is this a different type of kefir than this recipe? Thanks!

    • Hi Amanda, yes this is a different type of kefir because it uses the actual grains. I believe it will result in different bacteria in the final result, but both are beneficial to health.

  19. Hi Russell
    I noticed that you used a metal spoon and metal strainer for your kefir grains but have seen/read elsewhere that kefir grains hate metal.  Has this affected your grains?  Sue

    • Hi Sue,

      This is probably the question I get asked the most about this video.  It’s actually OK to use stainless steel as it’s a non-reactive metal.

      The only metals that are a problem are reactive ones like steel, brass, lead etc, not that you’d ever use those in the kitchen anyway! :)

  20. Hi Russell, I purchased your books a while ago but must have accidentally deleted them – is there any chance to retrieve them or resend them? 
    Thank you!! Lisa

  21. b’h

    thank you! do you know if the benefits of water kefir differ from milk kefir and which would you recommend – i have heard that milk kefir will actually produce vitamin B12 in the intestines because its milk and has buffering agents? is it the same for water kefir?

    • I’m not sure of the difference in nutritional values between milk and coconut kefir, but I’m sure they have their own unique benefits.

      I can’t really drink milk as it makes my skin breakout, which was actually the reason I got into raw food in the first place – to clear that up.

  22. Great video.  Yes, same question as Neba below…the grains that remain (in your strainer) when you make your final beverage–in this case you added the juice…are those grains in the strainer usable and can they be put back in with the originals…or are they to be discarded?

    Thanks.  Considering taking your course soonish.  Moving to Austin, but still in New Zealand for now–so a challenge getting certain ingredients.  Once I return home to America, might be a better time for the course.

    Cheers,
    Marti

    • HI Marti.

      Thanks for the question, I just answered Neba below, so I’ll paste the answer in here…

      If you don’t want to grow more grains, you can just keep doing the coconut water stage.Grains can be used again and again.If you find you have an excess of grains you can add them to smoothies, as they are beneficial to eat too.

      ————

      Have fun in Austin!

    • Still me  :)  I want to say again that your video was the best thing I found for understanding what to do with this amazing elixir that a friend of mine gave me, I had no idea that such a beautiful thing existed and what to do with it!!! My friend came to Costa Rica (where I live) and left me coconut kefir first stage, it has around two cups of grains and double water, she left without giving me any instructions. But again your explanation is lovely! My question still with the remain grains; I guess after I drink the strained liquid I just have to add some more coconut water and live it out 48 hrs, but if I never drink the grains… why do I want to grow them more? Do I need to re-do the feeding maple syrup part to keep them alive? I’m just thinking that if I keep growing them I’m going to end it up having a big amount of grains which will be nice but not for storage proposes. Or… do they get feed by the coconut water sugars? If I want some other kind of kefir I just wash off the grains and use them for other recipes? Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge Rusell! Blessings from Costa Rica!

      • Hi Neba, thanks!

        If you don’t want to grow more grains, you can just keep doing the coconut water stage.

        Grains can be used again and again.

        If you find you have an excess of grains you can add them to smoothies, as they are beneficial to eat too.

    • Hi,

      That link is broken, do you have the correct link?

      I’m not sure what you’re asking when you mentioned the initial cost to make coconut water, can you clarify that please?

    • Vikki – you can make coconut milk kefir using the milk kefir grains and So Delicious Coconut Milk.  Be advised that your milk kefir grains will not reproduce unless they are in animal milk.  If you are talking about substituting coconut milk to make coconut water kefir in the recipe Russel has posted above, then the answer is NO.  The recipe above uses sugar kefir grains, (often referred to as water kefir grains) rather than the milk kefir grains I mention above.  Coconut water is the clear liquid inside of either the young coconuts which are normally green if unhusked or white if they have been husked or the mature coconut which are hard and brown and sold at most markets.  Coconut milk is made by blending the clear coconut water with the white coconut meat.     

  23. fabulously clear instructional video.  I have a question…once you have performed the first stage of fermentation and have strained the grains, can you use those grains again?

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